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Experience Umbria

An Intensive writing workshop with Mary Jo McConahay
2018 Date to be Announced Soon!

Join a small group of fellow writers and culinary enthusiasts for a week of intense writing in the rolling hills of Umbria.


In the heart of Italy's wine and truffle region is the medieval village of Umbertide, lying along the border of Tuscany and Umbria. Nearby, on a 155-acre estate, surrounded by chestnut trees, olive groves and an organic garden, stands La Pietra, a 17th century stone farmhouse, and our spectacular accommodations for the week. From here, we will venture out into the surrounding areas, exploring villages, vineyards, markets and extraordinary restaurants.

When not in writing class or touring medieval hamlets, we'll experience the best of farm-to-table Italian cuisine. Hand-rolled ravioli, fried zucchini blossoms, gnocchi with shaved black truffles and famed Chianina beef drizzled in an red wine glaze, just to name a few. Savor the slow pace on the Italian countryside and write to your heart's content!

Read our reviews:

"Eat, Write, Travel was one of the best times of my life!"


"I could go on and on about the food, but I will simply say that I experienced the best meals of my life on this trip."


"The gentle rolling hills of Umbria are the perfect place for this amazing writing workshop."


Experience Umbria

An Intensive writing workshop with Mary Jo McConahay
2018 Date to be Announced Soon!


DAY 1–Benvenuto!!

Meet at the Terontola-Cortona train station and drive to La Pietra to settle in. We'll share in some wine and introductions on the terrace, while the chefs of Amore Sapore cooking school prepare a traditional Umbrian dinner.

DAY 2–La Pietra and Writing

Morning writing class with time in the afternoon to work on your own or wander the grounds of La Pietra before our evening dinner with readings.

DAY 3–The Valdichiana Valley

After the morning's writing class, we'll drive through the Valdichiana valley and arrive at picturesque Cortona to wander the ancient hilltop alleys. Lunch at the town's best restaurant and a wine tasting before heading home. Farmhouse dinner with readings.

DAY 4–A Tuscan Hill Town

Morning writing class, then on to the nearby medieval town of Montone for a guided tour, followed by an afternoon cooking class with dinner.

DAY 5–Farmer's Markets and Walled Villages

Market day in Umbertide. Peruse the stalls and sample the delights. Lunch on Umbria's famed porchetta, then devote your afternoon to your writing project.

DAY 6–Truffles!

After writing class, we're off to the Upper Tiber Valley for a truffle hunt and 5-course truffle dinner with a local hunter. We'll visit his small museum and learn the allure of the famed black nugget.

DAY 7–Write, write, write

A day devoted to writing with private tutorial sessions. Farewell dinner with readings at home.

DAY 8–Buon Viaggio!

After a final breakfast together, depart for the train station for your return to either Florence or Rome.

*Itinerary subject to change depending on local festivals and markets.


**A 3-hour private consultation with Mary Jo for personal critiques and questions is included. 


Experience Umbria

An Intensive writing workshop with Mary Jo McConahay
2018 Date to be Announced Soon!


Double occupancy--$2900, private bath
Double occupancy--$2750, shared bath with one other room

Private apartment--$3500, double occupancy

Single supplement--$400

Bring a friend or spouse:

Non-writing companion--$2300/$2600

We encourage you to arrive in Italy a day or two before the retreat begins in order to get the most from your Umbria experience. A list of recommended hotels and restaurants will be provided for both Rome and Florence.

*included in the writing workshop price are 7 nights accommodations at La Pietra, all ground transportation after arriving at the Terontola-Cortona train station, all group activities, cooking class, and all meals. Also included are 12 hours of class time and 3-hours private time with Mary Jo.

A $1000 deposit is needed to secure your place in our Intensive writing workshop in Umbria. Since the number of participants is limited and accommodations vary, early registration is advised. The balance of the tour is due 60 days prior to departure. If not received by that time, EAT- WRITE-TRAVEL reserves the right to treat the reservation as canceled.


Experience Umbria

An Intensive writing workshop with Mary Jo McConahay
2018 Date to be Announced Soon!


The gift of time to write.

The gift of inspiration, and of experienced support.

That is what we will have together in magical Umbria.


Mary Jo McConahay is the author of Maya Roads, One Woman’s Journey Among the People of the Rainforest, winner of the prestigious 2012 Northern California Book Award for Best Creative Nonfiction, and named a Book of the Month by National Geographic Traveler Magazine, which called Maya Roads “an extraordinary literary journey, and a moving testament to a region and a life.”  

Mary Jo was recently named the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year, an award equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize in the genre. Her new ebook, Ricochet, Two women war reporters and a friendship under fire, has recently been released to rave reviews (

Mary Jo has led a full-time writer’s life, working as a journalist for newspapers covering war, environment, politics, personalities and women’s issues, her magazine pieces in Vogue, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times Magazine and many others.  She has worked as an editor, and taught magazine writing at the University of California Extension in San Francisco. Mary Jo's stories are featured in Best Women’s Travel Writing, and Best Travel Writing 2011, both from Travelers‘ Tales. She has received two Solas Travel Writing Awards, including First Place Gold in the category "Food and Travel," as well as recognition from Go Nomad for "Navigating a Hypercity: San Paulo", a story they named as one of their top ten for 2012. Her recent coverage of the Guatemala genocide trial received the first place award for Best News Writing, International Event, from the Catholic Press Assn. of the United States and Canada.


What do you write?  What do you want to write?  Good travel stories?  A memoir or a novel? Stories about food that tell us something about the world, or ourselves? Creative nonfiction?  A legacy history for your family, and yourself?  Is your aim to publish what you write?


Let Mary Jo know.  Before we go, jot down a few lines to say what you want to come away with from your intensive days of writing in this very special place, and send them:


If you already have pages you want to work on, you can send them to Mary Jo ahead of time, so we can hit the ground running. This will be a small group -- ideal for Mary Jo as facilitator to give individual attention to each writer. We will work on structure, and voice. Feedback and thoughtful critique are central to developing the craft. We can give that to each other too, in these days, as much or as little as each writer wants.

Already have a book-length manuscript?  Ask about advanced writers options.

For more on Mary Jo McConahay click here